Another Black Eye for Genting in Hendon Mob Pullback… and Retraction
Malaysia’s Genting Group, the global casino conglomerate that was last in the news over the disputed $12.1 million punto banco payout to Phil Ivey at the Genting-owned Crockfords Casino, is at it again. The latest Genting blunder? Discontinuing a special rewards program at online site Genting Poker that catered to the UK’s prominent Hendon Mob clientele, and pocketing all the earned promotional rewards that Hendon players have left sitting in their accounts. Only after a weekend’s worth of irate attacks and legal threats from Hendon Mob punters, plus plenty of reports from larger poker outlets, did Genting reverse course in what Genting now claims was a “miscommunication”.
How’d it all play out? A new spokesman for Genting Poker, James Lowe, appeared in the HendonMob.com poker forum on Friday and promptly dropped this bomb as his PR debut:
Hi all, my name is James Lowe’ and I have recently taken over as Poker Manager at Genting Poker.
Unfortunately my first post is not great news!
Genting Poker has decided to stop the Hendon Mob Tournament $ scheme with immediate effect. The VIP scheme available on Genting Poker offers excellent value for all players and all players signed up with Genting Poker will have this scheme available to them. If you have not already used them, the Genting Points can be exchanged for cash or online tournament buy-ins.
This does mean that any points you have accrued and not used are no longer valid. Look out for the new Genting VIP scheme currently being planned to go live in July 2013.
Not great news indeed! “… any points you have accrued and not used are no longer valid, meaning that Genting is willfully choosing to not honor them. (Rumors that Mr. Lowe is called “Captain Obvious” around the Genting offices remain unconfirmed as this report goes to publication.) Since Hendon players participated in their private program instead of being in the general Genting Points program — the players couldn’t be in both — this isn’t a bait-and-switch, it’s an outright theft.
Reaction from Hendon Mob participants was predictable in its outrage. From “Brodders”:
James – this is a disgusting decision to not give any notice and effectively “steal” accrued benefits from everyone on this site.
I can assure you that I will be withdrawing all of my funds from Genting immediately and will not play on your sub-standard platform again.
I wish you the best of luck in your career
In the same thread, “MFCMark00” issued a challenge to Genting officials to provide a legal rationale for the cancellation, to which Lowe or other Genting reps have yet to respond:
I’d also note there is nothing in the terms and conditions pertaining to the removal of benefits without warning.
The only conditions permitting removal of player benefits are:
19. For all Hendon Mob players Genting Poker Points(iP) have zero cash value. They are only used to calculate your VIP level and can not be used for anything of value. GPP(iP) will be set to zero on your account each month. Anyone caught trying to use/spend GPP(iP) or abusing the system may forfeit all THM$.
21. THM$ may not be exchanged for cash and will expire if your account has been dormant (not used for real money play) for a 12 month period.
Point 19. became moot at the time it was decided to also reward iPoints, and my account has not been dormant for 12 months.
Please indicate which term you are using to cancel my accrued rewards.
It went on from there, with threats of legal action. Finally, Lowe and Genting reversed course, with a new post offered:
First Off, I wish to apologies for the confusion my earlier post (and introduction to THM) has caused. This was a genuine mistake on my part.
1. Your Hendon Mob $’s accrued to 14.06.2013 remains redeemable.
2. However, any play on Genting Poker from that date will not accrue Hendon Mob $. You will, however, continue to earn Genting Poker points which are redeemable as per the standard Genting Poker VIP scheme.
I will update you shortly with more details on redeeming your HM $. Please can you ensure your email addresses on your Genting Poker accounts are up to date, so we can also email these details.
Finally, and again, my sincere apologies for the confusion I have caused. I hope the above clarifies my initial announcement. For those who are regular visitors to GPS Main Events, I’m sure you’ll find me at a future one!
This seems more rational; the special Hendon program may be up for discontinuation, but to seize benefits already accrued would be patently unfair. Genting still finds ways to get its brand into the headlines in all the wrong ways, whether its in connection with the Ivey debacle — wherein Ivey and a female companion are alleged to have engineered a $12 million angle shot that, true or not, wouldn’t have even been possible had Genting’s Crockfords casino used the barest minimum of security precautions, and then there’s the closing of the popular Fox Poker Club in London, which irritated an entire poker-playing clientele.